Rev. Eric V. Swearingen
1961 - 2020
BORN
1961
DIED
2020
FUNERAL HOME
Salser & Dillard Funeral Chapel
127 East Caldwell Avenue
Visalia, CA
Rev. Eric V. Swearingen

Visalia - Surrounded by his loving family and many friends, Rev. Eric V. Swearingen completed his early mission on January 18, 2020, having served as a Catholic Priest of the Diocese of Fresno for more than 32 years.

Eric Van Swearingen was born August 8, 1961 in Visalia, California. He was the second son of Richard and Connie (Goodreau) Swearingen. His early years were spent on the Westside of the San Joaquin Valley, where his family farmed in the Riverdale/Five Points area. Those early lessons of farming, working side-by-side with people of diverse cultures, languages and backgrounds would serve him well in his later life of ministry. He was blessed with the opportunity for a Catholic education first at Mary Immaculate Queen school in Lemoore and then George McCann Memorial Catholic School in Visalia. After completing his high school years at Redwood High School in Visalia, the realization that he might be called to the Catholic priesthood led him to St. John's Seminary College in Camarillo. Having earned his Bachelor Degree in Philosophy, he was sent to complete his theological studies at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, OH. On May 23, 1987 he was ordained a priest for service in the Diocese of Fresno.

Fr. Swearingen served in various parish assignments throughout his more than 32 years of priestly ministry, including: Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Bakersfield; Our Lady of Victory, St. Alphonsus, St. Helen and Holy Spirit Parishes, Fresno; St. Anthony Parish, Atwater; St. Jude Parish, Easton; St. Peter the Apostle Parish, Lemoore; and the united Catholic communities of Good Shepherd Parish, Visalia.

Fr. Eric was a gifted administrator and pastor who could relate to all age groups. He honed his people skills while serving in a traveling circus during the summers of his seminary training. There he helped train the dog performers, gave religious instruction to the children of the circus performers and learned how to be a real clown! This adaptable nature would serve him greatly during his military service as a USAF National Guard Chaplain (Major) and a volunteer Fresno police chaplain. He even found a way to merge his priestly ministry with his love of travel, serving as a Cruise Ship chaplain with the Apostleship of the Sea-USA, and accompanying scores of pilgrims to those holy sites which helped deepen their experience of the Faith.

Fr. Eric had a keen sense of humor and was fond of playing practical jokes. He enjoyed cooking and celebrating with friends his successes in the kitchen or at the grill. His home was a welcoming place and would often be a gathering spot for his priest brothers. And when some of those brother priests need a shoulder to lean on or an ear to listen in a time of difficulty, they could count on his openness and support. He also knew sorrow and suffering in this life; but his strong faith and unwillingness to give up saw him through and provided us all with a living image of Jesus.

Besides his loving parents, Fr. Eric will also be greatly missed by his brother Craig (Kristi) Swearingen of Visalia; his sister Stephanie (Robert) Twedt of Mount Vernon, WA; his nieces and nephews Ryan Swearingen, Lynsi (Brenden) Watson, Robert Twedt, Jr., Kristin Twedt, Hudson Swearingen, Harper Swearingen, Hadley Swearingen, Cameron Watson, Kase Watson and Grace Twedt.

A viewing and visitation will be held on Thursday, January 23, 2020 from 3:00 - 6:00 p.m. at St. Mary's Church, Visalia. The Vigil/Rosary will follow at the church at 6:00 p.m. The funeral Mass will be celebrated at 12:15 p.m. on Friday, January 24, 2020 at St. Mary's Church, Visalia. Interment will be at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 29, 2020, at St. Peter's Catholic Cemetery, Fresno.

In lieu of flowers, friends may make a donation in memory of Fr. Eric Swearingen to The Bethlehem Center, Visalia; the Building Fund for St. Charles Borromeo Church in Visalia or their favorite charity.

Tributes and condolences may be offered by logging onto

www.salseranddillard.com.





Published by Visalia Times-Delta & Tulare Advance-Register from Jan. 21 to Jan. 22, 2020.
To plant trees in memory, please visit the Sympathy Store.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
Jan
23
Visitation
3:00p.m. - 6:00p.m.
St. Mary's Church
Visalia, CA
Jan
23
Rosary
6:00p.m.
St. Mary's Church
CA
Jan
24
Funeral Mass
12:15p.m.
St. Mary's Church
CA
Jan
29
Interment
1:00p.m.
St. Peter's Catholic Cemetery
Fresno, CA
Funeral services provided by:
Salser & Dillard Funeral Chapel
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21 Entries
A great person and a great mentor. He was always there to listen when life was tough in my teenage years. He will be greatly missed.
Dario Garcia
Friend
July 27, 2021
We miss you Father Eric.
Terry Hernandez
Friend
January 18, 2021
Fr. Eric will be greatly missed and forever loved and cherished in our hearts. We will miss his presence here on earth but rejoice in knowing that he is safely held in our heavenly Fathers arms...
He was a great man and leaves behind a great legacy of love and resilience of Faith in the face of adversity.
Lenor (Chavez) Totzke
January 26, 2020
My family and I will miss Fr. Eric greatly. He was a good friend and priest who I met when I was 9 years old while my mother was the secretary at the rectory at Our Lady Of Guadalupe Church in Bakersfield Ca. My brother and I attended Our Lady of Guadalupe school and he became the principal of our school. He was really great with all of the students and well liked. My family and I spent a lot of time with Fr. Eric and he would often come over to our home for dinner and to watch WWF wrestling on pay per view with us! When the the circus was in town he would take our family and a few other parishioners that were close to him to the circus and get us in for free!! He was a practical joker and would often call our house and disguise his voice to sound like an old man or woman or some other funny character and ask to speak to our mom or dad! He would come over to our home with ice cream and we would play Catholic trivia and of course he would always win! Those were great times and lots of fond memories that I will cherish forever. He will always be in our hearts....
Lenor (Chavez) Totzke
January 26, 2020
Allyn Goodall
January 26, 2020
You offered great peace father thank you.
Noe Garcia
January 26, 2020
Father Eric was my first Priest when I converted to Catholicism while he was at St Helens in Fresno. I will remember him always and am sad by his passing. rest in peace Father Eric...and Thank you...



Michele Nabors
January 24, 2020
My family & I loved Fr Eric the 1st time we saw him. He was so good with children and the elderly and all people. I loved his stories of the circus. He really touched our hearts and our lives. I'm so sorry for him to lose his life at a young age. My deepest condolences to his loved ones. He is home now in a most glorious place with no pain.
Elva Jackson
January 23, 2020
We love Fr. Eric and will greatly miss him.
Anna M. Herrera
January 23, 2020
John Sinerchio
January 23, 2020
Richard and Connie, It's hard for me to think that someone of his age passing. Thinking of him reminds me of the days when we were neighbors and he was that small boy who tickled his hair. He has always had a special place in my heart. Our thoughts and prayers will be with you as I know these are tough times. I'm sure my Dad and brothers share my sorrow and would also want me to send their sympathy to you.
Terry Riggs Schimke
January 22, 2020
I am deeply grieved by his passing. Father Eric was my first priest, as I converted to Catholicism in 2015. He was a bright light, who I subconsciously hold in the highest esteem, and I will not forget.
It is not the number of years you live but the people you touch on your journey. I will miss his jokes, his warmth, vitality, plans for our new cathedral, and his brilliance.
Yes, I wanted him at GSCP for many years to come but our Lord wanted him, too, in eternity. He was tried by fire at times, but the finest steel gets the
greatest temperatures, forging the very finest steel for the perfect instrument for the surgeon.
I hated that he was tested greatly with that deadly brain cancer. He fought the good fight.....as St Paul said. Father Eric has gone to his reward. (Continuing a rosary every day).
Gloria Green
January 22, 2020
I'll always remember that my mom said 'it was as though an angel had entered our house', when Fr. Eric, adorned in his magnificent priestly vestments, having momentarily excused himself from hearing confessions at Saint Helens, traveled to my parents' home, to anoint my father, just days before his passing! My family and I will always be grateful to Father Eric for his kindness and thoughtfulness as the most gracious celebrant of my father's funeral Mass!
John Sinerchio
January 22, 2020
Be home with our eternal Father, Father Eric. Thank you for your selfless stewardship of your flock.
paul scheibel
January 22, 2020
No one has changed my relationship with the lord more than Fr. Eric did. He turned mass at Holy Spirit into something I looked forward to because he could present everything in way that no one could. I will miss our handshakes & bro hugs greatly.
R.I.P Fr. Eric and I will see you again one day!
Michael Walterman
January 22, 2020
a loved one
January 22, 2020
a loved one
January 22, 2020
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
James/Bette Leisten
January 22, 2020
Fr. Eric Swearingen was a great priest. His astute knowledge and love of people endeared him to the people of God. He was talented and wise in many ways. I always loved his homilies where he shared his insight into the love of God. I also enjoyed his televised workshops when he was the pastor at Holy Spirit. He will be remembered by many with a smile on our faces and a whispered thank you for Fr. Eric's priesthood.
Barbara Xavier
January 21, 2020
We will miss you Fr.Eric
Elizabeth Starr
January 21, 2020
My favorite memory of Fr.Eric was when he came & spoke at the lifeteen club at Clovis West high school in fresno. Fr.Eric will be missed greatly. He was a great priest .
Elizabeth Starr
January 21, 2020
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